Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Congress recently turned to reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) and the Brookings Institution has posted Special Education: The Forgotten Issue in No Child Left Behind Reform suggesting what legislators should change about assessments of students with disabilities. After IDEA required special education students to be included in state assessments, the Department of Education allowed states to modify assessments for some students with disabilities, but also placed caps on the number of students whose scores could count as proficient on modified (2%) and alternate (1%) assessments. Brookings suggests that in the reauthorization legislation that "Congress should deauthorize modified assessments and reauthorize alternate assessments but without a cap." The article notes that
[s]ome schools inappropriately administer modified assessments to students who could achieve proficiency on the general test to artificially raise scores. However, many of those students rightly take an alternate assessment. The assessment of students with disabilities will remain difficult until researchers gain a better understanding of all cognitive disorders. Until then policymakers will have to balance setting high expectations without overburdening schools and students.
Read Joshua Bleiberg and Darrell M. West's article here.